Monday, April 11, 2011

News of the Weird/Pro Edition
You're Still Not Cynical Enough

Prime Cuts of Underreported News from Last Week, Hand-Picked and Lightly Seasoned by Chuck Shepherd
April 11, 2011
(datelines April 2-April 9) (links correct as of April 11)
© 2011 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved.

The New "Prosperous Afterlife" App, Plus Homicidal Cows, People Who Can't Count to 5, and "Uterus"

★ ★ ★ ★!

The Back-Facing Camera Will Be Especially Helpful: Chinese families of the, y'know, Something-Something culture have this tradition of supporting their deceased relatives by either (a) burning, or (b) burying with them, paper models of things that were valuable to the deceased or which will protect and nurture the deceased as he or she journeys through eternity. (News of the Weird was on this in, for example, NOTW M001, 4-15-2007.) Well, now, the latest hot item for the recently departed is the iPad 2, and, as with the real thing, the suppliers of the paper models can't keep up with demand. They have plenty of first-generation iPads, but settling for last year's technology is so disrespectful to the dead. (Dead Luddites get paper shoes and shirts.) (Bonus: Also plentiful in stock are iPhones and Galaxy Tabs.) Reuters /// CNN

Indonesian Men's Curious Half-Way Morality Code: There is no native Indonesian porn industry to speak of, but men do seem somewhat daring in their horniness. A cottage industry exists in movies that feature foreign porn stars but always clothed and in roles that are part of actual storylines. Said a Muslim film producer, "We're hypocrites. People know who they are, but they won't admit it." Unassuaged: the Islamic Defenders Front (the Indonesian equivalent of the famed Saudi Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, who crack down on even clothed porn stars). New York Times

"Rosebud" "Uterus": It started about three weeks ago when a Democratic Florida state legislator taunted Republicans by imagining that they'd stop trying to regulate abortions if only women would file incorporation papers for their uteruses--because Republicans abhor regulating businesses. Responded the Republicans, "Wha? . . Hey! . . Wait! You can't say 'uterus' on the floor of the House!" So now politically-conscious Democrats all over the state say "uterus" at every opportunity, almost Tourette's-like. (Bonus: If you sympathize, you can join "The Uterati.") Miami Herald

"Mommy, What's an 'Abstract Impressionist'?: Yr Editor has loved, several times, in fact, stories showing that possibly most people couldn't tell a Mark Rothko (who does high-end art about nothing but which brings in millions of bucks at auction) from, y'know, toddler Buzz Yaskot's splatters created by clapping his dripping-paint hands together as be plays near a canvas. Now, there's a definitive study by two psychologists at Boston College, who found that people can pick out the pro artist's work and that of course they find those works superior to the splatter art and whimsical squiggles of kids (and chimpanzees, who also do randomized art). (Inconvenient finding: Actually, they only identify the "real" art 60 to 70 percent of the time. There's still plenty of room for Corporation Buzz to grow.) Richmond Times Dispatch

Absurdities

Can't Possibly Be True: (1) The CEO of an association of organizations that provide help to vulnerable Jewish Americans in their old age is being fired. Reason: She's battling leukemia and chemotherapy, preparing for a bone-marrow transplant, and really needs to work at home for a while. No can do, her bosses say. (2) Evidence seemed pretty clear that Ronald Ellis, 70, assaulted a Seattle woman with a bucket of the Big 3 Disgusting Bodily Waste Fluids--but not clear to the jury, who acquitted him, and no one knows why yet. Washington Post /// Seattle Post-Intelligencer via KBOI-TV (Boise)

Why do people do this, and when will they stop? A small group calling themselves Conscious Men issued a blanket "apology" for the thousands of years of most men's boorish, abusive treatment of women. [Yr Editor hereby apologizes to the world for these men's abuse of the word "apology." Actually, it could get sillier: A woman somewhere could actually accept their apology.] The Globe and Mail (Toronto)

Update: The New York Post visits Cindy Jackson, 55, with a rundown on how she feels now that her lifetime number of painful cosmetic procedures is up to "52." [Can you even think up 52 different ways that you could improve your looks? Cindy, for example, thought the fat behind her knees was unsightly.] New York Post

Prominent UK dog groupie Louise Harris announced that her favorite, Lola, will soon marry Mugly (a Chinese Crested graced with epic ugliness) in a lavish ceremony on which she says she'll spend £20,000 ($32,000). Daily Telegraph

Remember those Transocean guys . . whose ran BP's Deepwater Horizon operation in the Gulf of Mexico? It turns out that the "blowout preventer" (that failed to prevent) was somewhat overdue for routine maintenance, according to Transocean's own internal guidelines--with "somewhat" meaning "4 years." That didn't matter to Transocean executives up for "safety" bonuses for 2010 because statistically, company-wide, almost all their safety benchmarks were met, and they'll cash in. Bloomberg Business Week /// Sydney Morning Herald

The town of Lost Springs, Wyo., reported satisfaction with the results of its 2010 census (n = 4). In 2000, census counters reported 1 instead of the correct 5. [That miscounting's not even possible, is it?] Associated Press via San Jose Mercury News

Shark! Shark! In the 6-year period up to 2008, 108 people in the U.S. died from attacks by sharks cows (compared to only 4 from sharks). (Bonus: Almost all the cow fatalities were from "blunt force trauma.") [Obviously, all the summer scare stories are by the cow-oriented liberal media, which can't handle the truth.] Popular Mechanics [March 31]

Losers
Life on the Left Tail of the Bell Curve


Ryan Martin, 29, had his jaw broken by a friendly gunshot fired by his girlfriend. Basically, she was blindfolded, and they were playing "marco polo" with a gun. (Bonus: They've played before; they like the game.) WHTM-TV (Harrisburg, Pa.)

Looks Cool (Also Painful, Also Irreversible): "Elf ears" (aka "Dr. Spock ears") seem to be making a comeback, according to veteran NOTW-acknowledged body-mod authority Steve Haworth of Tempe, Ariz. ABC News

It was a bad week for perps trying to escape from their crime scenes. Eric Decatur, 22, allegedly stole two 12-packs of beer in Waikiki but then accidentally, fatally, ran in front of a tour bus). Wyman Sims, 36, allegedly made off with only one 12-pack, in Oakland Park, Fla., but then his getaway car smashed into a palm tree, and that was the end of that. Star-Advertiser (Honolulu) /// Associated Press via MSNBC

Recurring Theme: A 31-year-old man fell out of a bus in New Hampshire and was killed. This was not "fell out the back door which he mistook for the restroom." No. This was "fell out a window, during 'horseplay' with a buddy." (Obligatory Bonus: They were returning from a trip to a brewery.) Boston Globe

Uh-Oh!

At "career day" at Shady Grove Elementary (Henrico, Va.), there was a presentation on plastic surgery, and guess what "exhibit" got passed around so the little kids could look at it (and feel it up)? WWBT-TV (Richmond)

The Pervo-American Community

Eric Allison was picked up for violating his pre-trial release on child porn charges in Corpus Christi, Tex. He's to stand trial in May, and among his "issues," allegedly, is that he scours Dumpsters outside restaurants like Chuck E. Cheeses for used, discarded diapers, which he likes to wear. KZTV (Corpus Christi)

Your Weekly Jury Duty
[In America, you're presumed innocent . . . until the mug shot is released]


Samuel Santos, 18, is guilty. He admitted robbing that bank. He's here because of the photo, expertly captioned by a contributor to Fark.com: "Man charged with robbing bank shows camera the position his mouth will be in for the next 20 years." Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)

The possibly-guilty David Wagner, stopped for DUI (and who then tried to light up a cigarette--only it was a hearing aid that he was holding that he tried to light). TCPalm.com (Stuart, Fla.)

Man without no chance to avoid conviction: Tony Kadyhrob, 68, is charged with trying to lure a woman into his car--while looking like Christopher Walken. Associated Press via WCBS-TV (New York City)

Below The Fold

Update: It's tough being the "Duke Lacrosse Accuser." Every time you try to set your house on fire, you make the news. Every time you stab your boyfriend, you make the news. Picky picky picky. WRAL-TV (Raleigh)

Readers' Choice: (1) Most people who make News of the Weird when they scavenge for copper wire do so because they disrespect "electricity" and thus are no longer with us. This woman is alive, but she cut a fiber optics cable by mistake and shut down Armenia's Internet access for five hours. (2) It's way, way "No Longer Weird" for a perp to accidentally drop his wallet at the scene of the crime. Not yet NLW: perp drops a personalized t-shirt emblazoned with a silk-screened photo of himself. (3) He was charged with harassing a K-9 cop. (Bonus: He was barking at the dog.) (Double Bonus: His defense is, "The dog started it.") The Guardian (London) /// Charlotte Observer /// Fox News

Newsrangers: Don Patton, Don Chapman, Sasha Oberheim, and Jan Lewis, and oh so many on the Readers' Choices. And time again to acknowledge the fabulous News of the Weird Senior Advisors (Jenny T. Beatty, Paul Di Filippo, Ginger Katz, Joe Littrell, Matt Mirapaul, Paul Music, Karl Olson, and Jim Sweeney) and Board of Editorial Advisors (Tom Barker, Paul Blumstein, Harry Farkas, Sam Gaines, Herb Jue, Emory Kimbrough, Scott Langill, Steve Miller, Christopher Nalty, Mark Neunder, Bob Pert, Larry Ellis Reed, Rob Snyder, Stephen Taylor, Bruce Townley, and Jerry Whittle).